A generation after Godard and Truffaut penned their first film criticisms for Cahiers du Cinema,
filmmaker Olivier Assayas cut his teeth there as a writer. He has subsequently directed 13 feature films. The script of his most recent, Carlos
, is as recondite as a typical article for Cahiers
, trafficking in global politics and terrorism at the end of the Cold War. Read More
Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul is a filmmaker and visual artist working in Chiangmai, Thailand. In May, 2010 he won the Palme d'Or at Cannes for his film, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
, which made its American premier at the New York Film Festival this past weekend. The film is inspired by the Thai story of the same name, and is part of a multi-platform gallery installation work called Primitive
, which is comprised of several short films shot in the small town of Nabua, in northeastern Thailand, which is also the setting for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
. The Primitive
installation has exhibited in Munich and Paris. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
follows the central character, Uncle Boonmee, through a protracted reconciliation of his mortality and the supernatural world that awaits him after his death. This supernatural world visits him while he's alive in the form of his wife's ghost and his son's return home as a mythical animist spirit.
JORDAN HRUSKA: Explain the nature of the Primitive Project
and how Uncle Boonmee
fits into this larger work.
APICHATPONG "JOE" WEERASETHAKUL: Well, I had this urge to make a movie about this guy, Uncle Boonmee
for a long time before making my film, Tropical Malady
, but I didn't know how. It's very complex. I felt that I want to get to know the roots of the place I grew up in. It comes from many things, coupled with the censorship of my films, with repressed memories, and, how should I say, to look at something that has been forced to extinction. I want to explore this idea. So, I made this journey to the Northeast of Thailand to see what is left of this landscape and what is gone and then I went into this village that is full of repressed memories, of political past. I linked that with Uncle Boonmee,
who claimed he could remember so much.
HRUSKA: What is becoming extinct exactly?
WEERASETHAKUL: It's the idea and belief of the fable. We are trying so much to develop our country in Thailand that the landscape is changing.
HRUSKA: Does memory factor into how you render this landscape in your film, Uncle Boonmee
and the Primitive
In film, racking focus isn't just left to the cinematographer. The viewer undergoes a similar process of recognition. Each film begins in that fruitful gap of unknowing where characters and elements are as raw as a passerby on the street, their drama completely alien. Opening today at Anthology Film Archives in New York, The Anchorage
, from filmmakers C.W. Winter and Anders Edström, never really leaves this zone. It relishes it, and formulates a clever illusion based partly on the value placed on sight. Read More
My editor said that I only have 600 words here. I'll be brief. How to limit discussion of Semiospectacle, a "literary review" premised on verbal embellishment? Footnotes aside, this amply titled variety show performed Monday night at P.S.122 was the thesis of Columbia University curatorial studies graduate Mashinka Firunts and included 18 performers who tampered with text in a boudoir-style salon lit low with classic banker desk lamps sitting among the audience.